Monday, February 3, 2014

Snowpocolypse - Chapter Four

Tuesday, January 28, 2014... 8:30 pm

I had waited as long as I possibly could. As I removed the velcro sides of the size 3T-4T pull up, I remember thinking that it looked so much bigger when I was putting it on JM. I tried to lay it out flat but the elastic sides kept folding over in the middle. Once it was in place, I tried the "easy does it" method once again. Success! I thought.

I don't know what happened, but there was a great amount that just didn't get caught and I was again left with a soaked seat, blanket, pants... everything. I wrapped the pull up and threw it in the passenger floorboard, just completely disgusted at this point about the day I'd had. Traffic continued to sit completely still for another hour.

9:30 pm

My friends began to devise a plan to send someone out on a four wheeler to come and get me. I worried that if they didn't make it, or if someone got hurt trying to get to me, that it would just continue to pile on a terrible string of events to this already ridiculous day. Also, I had to admit to my friends that I was covered in urine, and that a ride on the back of a four wheeler in 7 degree weather probably wouldn't be the best idea. Evan, the four wheeler rescuer, told me he would pack a change of pants as well as some warm coveralls to get me home... so I agreed.

In the meantime, another friend had seen on Facebook where her husband's cousin was out on I-20 in a jeep, giving people rides home. She texted me his name and number and I immediately called. I tried to explain where I was, with a description of all the things I could see around me. But, I was worried that I was in the middle lane and wouldn't be able to move my car to the emergency lane. I texted Evan to let him know that a jeep was on the way, but he stayed out on the four wheeler just in case. Once the jeep arrived, Keith (one of the jeep rescuers) helped me move my car by directing the cars around me to move up, back, etc. Once I parked in the emergency lane, I gathered my things and got out of my car. The rush of cold air to my wet pants took my breath away and I was grateful for my decision to remain in my car for so long before.

10:15 pm

The road was literally an ice-skating rink. My cowboy boots had very little traction so I carefully skated down I-20 with my wet behind waving at all the cars behind me who were now spotlighting it with their headlights. As we crossed the median, I broke the news to Keith even though I was mortified. We approached the jeep, on the westbound side of I-20, and as I opened the door, I blurted out "I'm so sorry - I peed my pants" to the driver. They must have had to bite their lips to keep from laughing at me. We set off in the opposite direction, driving east down 20W. There was no traffic on that side at all, only abandoned cars and 18-wheelers on each side. I remember thinking that it looked a lot like the title sequence to The Walking Dead. We drove slowly, and the heat was blaring... which would have been fine, except that it exaggerated the urine smell. I told Eric (the driver) that he might want to crack a window, but they were just as polite as could be, telling me that it was fine. I know it wasn't fine. I mean, I was gagging myself at this point.

We stopped by my friend's house so that I could pick up JM, and then slowly headed to my house. We got inside, I put JM to bed, and I took a very much needed bath. I called my family members, texted my friends, and updated everyone who had been following my day.

3 days post-snowpocolypse

Michael was stuck at UAB for two more days, and made it home at lunchtime Thursday. On the way to pick up my car, he started cracking jokes like, "Urine in a really unique position here, Kay." And, "Urine a place that not many others have been." I'm so glad that we can laugh about it at this point. I hope you've been able to laugh some, too. If you can't laugh about these things, what can you do?

And yes, my driver's seat has been cleaned with a high powered pet urine remover spray. And, even though the pull up was a frozen solid brick when I went back to get my car, all remaining memories of Tuesday have been disposed of... well, except for this blog.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snowpocolypse - Chapter Three

Tuesday, January 28, 2014... 4:30 pm

Cars were moving slowly down the hill to cross the bridge on 459. The car behind me was making me nervous because she was riding too close to me, in my opinion. The Tahoe in front of me started sliding uncontrollably to the right. He was able to stop and slowly head forward again across the bridge. Up ahead, the 18-wheelers were still blocking the road, but there was one small path that weaved through them. Before moving forward, I looked down and noticed a bottle of holy oil in my center console. As I unscrewed the cap, I felt like I was getting buck fever. My heart started racing and I just started putting oil on my car, my steering wheel, my head (which was still pounding), and then replaced the cap and moved forward. I prayed out loud the entire time as I weaved through the trucks and continued at no more than 15mph up another hill on 459. Other drivers seemed upset at my slow pace and began to pass me on the left and right. One car passed me and then proceeded to fish tail all the way down the next hill. Part of me smugly thought, "Hmph, serves you right" and the other part of me started praying that they would regain control.

Traffic on the other side of that mess was completely unclogged for the duration of my 459 experience. I even thought about stopping at Grants Mill and hiking my pee pants up to Church of the Highlands for the night. But, with traffic being opened up, I thought I would surely make it the rest of the way.

4:40 pm

I came to a stop on the I-20 exit ramp and immediately regretted my decision to trek on. I had stopped counting mistakes at this point though, so I thought I better just make the best of it. By this point, my phone was blowing up with texts. My small group was continuously checking in with me to see how far I'd traveled since the last time they texted. My childhood best friend, John, had been texting off and on throughout the day. He'd been stranded on I-65 all day, and I later learned that he'd been helping people get home all afternoon. However, the humor that came through his texts did keep me chuckling. You see, John and I have a warped sense of humor... it's just gross... there's really no other word for it. John and my brother once found a dead body in the Alabama River while jet skiing and then acted like it was all in a day's work. Anyway, while I hadn't shared with him the fact that I'd peed on myself yet, he started joking about... well, let's just say he started joking about ways to use excrement and just leave it at that.

My husband called and started becoming anxious as I relayed the latest update on my location. He was stuck downtown with no way of getting home, much less getting to me. There was still hope for me getting home though, as I moved about a car length every 30 minutes or so.

7:00 pm

It took about two hours to make it up the exit ramp. My hope was starting to fade. I was too far away from anything to park on the side of the road and walk. Plus, the sun was down and the temperature was dropping. Oh, and my pants were still soaking wet, so there was also the thought of hypothermia. I was wedged on I-20 between two 18-wheelers, with two more in front and back. And... I was starting to get uncomfortable with my ability to hold my bladder again. In my conversation with Michael, upon telling him about my wet seat, he suggested that I should have used one of JM's pull ups that I always keep in my purse. I felt like such an idiot. I could have avoided all of this if I had just remembered the pull ups!!! So, I reached down into my purse, pulled out a pull up, and decided to give it a go...

Tune in tomorrow for Snowpocolypse - Chapter Four

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snowpocolypse - Chapter Two

Tuesday, January 28, 2014... 1:00 pm

I-459 was slow but steady. Traffic was moving, and although it slowed up at the I-65 interchange, I moved past that point with general ease. On the other side of the 65 interchange, traffic slowed to a stop. It wasn't horrible at this point though because about every two minutes or so, we'd move a little bit. I figured it had to do with people trying to get on 280, and I was right about that... sort of.

1:30 pm

I had finally made it to 280. Judging from the looks of the exit ramp and some posts I saw on Facebook, I didn't think 280 would be a good route for me, so I stayed on 459. Around this point, I started thinking about the gallon of Gatorade I'd had earlier in the day. As I looked down at the empty Nalgene bottle, I thought, "This could be bad later." But the urge wasn't bad. What WAS bad was the insane headache that had come on due to my earlier dilated eyes. I tried to relax and just listen to the radio coverage of the storm and traffic. It didn't help, because at some point on this stretch of the road, one of the local meteorologists had called into the radio station, and he, too, was stuck in the horrible traffic. Fabulous.

Every now and then the traffic would move a little and I'd get excited. After several hours of that, the excitement passed.

2:30 pm

Speaking of passed... by 2:30 pm the idea that I could hold my bladder any longer had also passed. I looked around my car to try and determine my best plan of action. I was not really able to get out of the car to use the bathroom, because, well, the rest of Birmingham was sitting around me. Two men had easily gotten out of their trucks and walked to the woodsy edge to relieve themselves, but the thought of me squatting over there with my bright white behind sticking out was unbearable to me. And hey, it was still daylight folks. There was no hiding here! And the occasional walker down the side of the interstate didn't make it any easier of a decision. (Walking Dead reference #1) With cameras on phones and social media at hand, I thought it best to look for an answer from within the confines of my car.

I had one styrofoam cup and one tall coffee mug with a handle. In my mind, I thought the handle would easier to navigate. Using my coat as a shield to the other cars, I began to prepare myself. Okay, let me stop here for a minute. I've had to tinkle in a cup a few times in my day, so I was fully aware of my horrible ability to do this in a clean manner. In addition to this reality was the fact that this was a tall coffee mug. This meant that if you were sitting behind me in traffic, you either knew exactly what I was doing, or you somehow thought I'd grown two full feet in the last two minutes.

Trying to keep yourself shielded while performing a coffee cup relief maneuver is challenging at best. I slid the mug in place and lowered myself, trying to aim as best I could. This is where I lose track of what happened in this moment. I didn't want to let er rip and risk a waterfall in my seat. So, I tried to "easy does it" - which, is it just me y'all, or is that hard for a woman? Every now and then I slid the mug to the side to check my work. Urine in the cup - success!!!! When the cup was semi-full, I decided to just stop and empty the cup. I rolled down the window and created a yellow snow spot beside my car, replaced the coffee cup into my cup holder, returned my pants into their upright and locked position, and then sat down in the seat.

About 30 seconds passed before I realized it. It wasn't just warm in my car, it was now warm on my seat. But what do you do in that moment? The damage had been done.

3:00 pm

I was about three miles away from the Liberty Park exit, and everyone was just sitting in park, not moving. Up ahead, I could see about ten 18-wheelers jack knifed and blocking the entire three lane interstate. People were moving to and fro on foot, but at that distance, I couldn't tell what was going on. I found one of JM's blankets in the backseat and stuck it under me to try and soak up some of the tragedy down there. People were texting me left and right, and I was keeping everyone informed via Facebook. In fact, one of the most hilarious moments of the day happened on Facebook. See it here:

Pretty soon, I saw a few cars beginning to move. They appeared to be moving into a single file line down the hill and across the bridge. The girl behind me was riding too close to my bumper which really started to make me mad, but even worse, the Tahoe in front of me started sliding to the right uncontrollably...

Tune in tomorrow for Snowpocolypse - Chapter Three